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12:24 AM on 06.02.2009

Ubisoft Rant. Other.

I watched the Ubisoft Press Conference tonight on G4, and I couldn't have been more bored in my entire life. The first hour of the agony was a bunch of crap like Shawn White, soccer, and a half-hour of speeches about how Ubisoft is teaming up with movie studios (like for the game/film Avatar), blah blah blah... After all that crap they talked about even bigger crap, chest-thumping about the sales of the Petz and Imagine series of tween games. Then they showed off some crappy jewelry making and clip art games; it was torture. As if all that wasn't crappy enough, they then talked about their new fitness game for the Wii, to a crowd of overwieght game journalists. WTF!?!

Finally they got around to using the last twenty minutes or so to show off the games people care about, and even then not with 1/10th of the information they bored us with about all the rest of that mess they wasted breath talking about. They showed the new Rabbids game and some video from that for a little bit, then they showed the same Splinter Cell stuff seen in Microsoft's presentation earlier in the day, followed by the Assassin's Creed trailer I'd seen earlier on Youtube. And that was it, all the goodies stuffed into just the last twenty minutes. Everyone who was watching ends up pissed off for wasting those two hours of our lives (it's true, I checked Kotaku and everyone else has the exact same impression of this event that I do), and the icing on the cake...

They didn't even mention anything about Ghost Recon 4!

p.s. Also, the host was corny and kept bashing Ryan Seacrest the entire time, which makes him the biggest douche of the show this year. Nintendo could let Cammy do the entire presentation tomorrow and even she couldn't be as terrible. It sucked.

I didn't see the EA show, because I don't really care for EA that much. They have a few games I'm looking forward to, like Brutal Legend and such, but I figured it would be about the same old' EA Sports crap like usual. Microsoft didn't wow me really, but they showed off some cool stuff for sure. My biggest problem with their presentation was the way they kept talking about how "Xbox is the best at this, and Xbox is so wonderful at that", which I don't like very much at all. Matter of fact, very slowly over the course of this generation so far, I'm starting to hate what Xbox has become, especially XBL.

Microsoft never updates the store, which means they are still charging 50 points for three year old gamer pictures that can't really even be used anymore. Launch titles still have DLC that they want people to pay money for all this time later, I mean, can't they ever make it free? Not to mention that I absolutely hate the NXE. I thought I'd be able to adjust to it, but I still see it as being bombarded with ads on a service that I'm paying for, which isn't right. Even if they aren't really ads per se, most of the things on the dash taking up space are to tell me of crappy features that I have no interest in; like telling me when I can play with the Frag Dolls, as if I give a damn.

I have to scroll though a bunch of this junk just to get from my main bar of information to the friends list, which are pretty much the only two categories I look at. Something else that pisses me off is that in the video category, Netflix isn't the first box I see. Oh no, I have to move one space to the right, past the Microsoft PPV advertisement. AGGHHH!!!

So you see DCL, I have issues with Microsoft right now and this is why I so desperately want Sony to wow me already. Sony needs to come up with some exclusives so awesome that I'm ready to make it my default system for multiplatform gaming. I want it to happen, I've made the investment in the console, so I'm tired of feeling disappointed.

As for Project NATAL...


7:36 PM on 03.30.2009

Final Fantasy X is still a boring game.

I should start with a bit of history first. Over the last seven years or so, I have tried to play this game three times before. Each time, I either quit out of boredom or frustration with how the game lacks a good core, yet has a bunch of extra crap that is missable (like a blitzball game that's dang near impossible to win, or dodging lightening bolts, etc.). However, I seem to be a masochist as I keep coming back to this game time and time again, and right now is no exception. I am determined to finish this game though, because until I do, I somehow feel like I'm letting myself down. Like the Little Engine That Could, I'm going to do this thing!

So I am now once again 10 hours into the game, after playing for a couple of afternoons, and the game is once again boring as all heck. The story is decent enough I suppose, but the action is lacking. Talk talk talk talk talk, that's all these characters do! Oh, and don't even get me started on that laughing for no reason junk, though to be fair FFX is not the only JRPG offender to waste time like that.

Anyways... Despite being bored again, I fully intend to finish the game this time. I'm not going to let the little things bother me. I'm going to put my head down and plow through this game until I reach the end! Wish me luck.

p.s. I've been on a book buying spree lately, mostly just the classics though. I'm not interested in anything that's been written in the last, eh, 40 years or so. If you guys have any book recommendations, feel free to mention them. Thanks.

p.p.s. Please don't be upset that I had some fun in that sheep contest. It was just a joke and there was no harm done. ^_^   read

1:42 AM on 03.01.2009

My Room of Doom Setup. (Many Pictures)

Much has changed in the last eight months. My collection just keeps growing and growing...

* In the Hot Fries boxes are old NES, Genesis, SNES, and N64 games.
* Systems on top shelf are (in order): GG, N64, SNES, Gen, Nes, GCN, and DC. Lots of boxes and other stuff up there too.
* Not pictured is a box of strategy guides and other small gaming collectibles, which I had removed from the closet before taking pictures.   read

1:44 AM on 10.09.2008

When did playing video games require prerequisites?

The title of this blog post is a question a buddy of mine just brought up at a forum I go to. I think this is a great question, so I wanted to pass on this conversation and see what you all have to say about this issue as well. His question and my response are as follows...

Question: Original Post

When did playing video games require prerequisites?

I don't mean that in a bad way or anything, but I was milling about over at PSU a while and *everyone* there seems to be a knowledge base of which publisher made what, which developer is working on what, what genre is more popular here or there, etc.

Man, when I got into gaming, it was just all about playing, but today, it almost seems that playing video games comes with an asterisk - "before you can discuss, you must know (place qualifier here).

Do they mandate video game "faq" courses in HS or something?

Answer: My Response

When game companies started making nothing but sequels.

The reason you can't discuss one game without talking about another is because every game is a sequel these days. Sequels create fanboys and it's the fanboys who like to act superior to the new fans of "Game3" just because they played "Game1" and "Game2" also.

You don't see this kind of crap in discussions of original IP's. If you do it's just because some fanboys might try to act superior for having played another game made by the same developer, but that doesn't happen often.

Go to a place like the Atlus forums and take a look at how new fans are treated over there by the long time members. If they make a thread about an older game, the response they get is "welcome to five years ago". This is not a good way to bring new members and fans into the fold and it could turn them off of that forum or other games by the same company. It's not right and there is no excuse for it.

Fanboys are rabid though, they get off on knowing more than you. Who do you blame though? Do you blame the game companies for creating the fanboys, or, do you blame the fanboys for the lack of innovation shown by game companies creating what they know is safe and will sell, thus creating even more fanboys?

It's a pickle I tell you and its bitter taste is growing old.

So... What do you guys think? Have any other takes on the question posed?   read

12:53 AM on 08.19.2008

Saturday Was The Greatest! (NVGR)

In my last blog post, I mentioned that I was going to see the Smashing Pumpkins on Saturday. Well, I went and it was freaking amazing! The Smashing Pumpkins ******* ROCKED!!!!

This show had to be the loudest concert I've ever been to. Trust me when I say that is really saying something! Seriously, I couldn't hear anything until Sunday night. The band rocked and you could tell that they were really having fun (or at least I could because I was like six feet in front of Billy the entire show). The way they mashed together songs like "Transformer", "SuperChrist", and "United States" was kick ass. By the time "Heavy Metal Machine" and "Glass Theme" came around, a bunch of us were going nuts! With only three of their mega-hits on the set list though, this was a show for the super-fans and not the casual SP listener.

The only problem with the show was that it didn't start on time. It was supposed to start at 7pm, but they didn't hit the stage until around 8:15. I suppose that they were waiting for the sun to go down, but what that means is that I was standing in one spot for over two hours with nothing happening. People were starting to get pissed, and it was hotter than hades, but when the band finally did hit the stage all of that was instantly forgiven.

Overall, I have to say the Smashing Pumpkins proved to me (and then some) that they are the best rock band in the world today. If you ever get the chance to see them, please do, you won't regret it.

"Heavy Metal Machine" => "Glass Theme" (must listen)

p.s. The fact that I've been a fan of SP (17 yrs) longer than some of the people at the show have even been alive, was a trip. I certainly wasn't the only one, there was a good mix of young people and us older (27 is old in case you didn't know) fans. Billy took note of this also and made some funny comments on the state of the crowd.   read

3:27 AM on 08.14.2008

Of Bioshock, Eternal Sonata, More...

It's been a little while, so this post will be a mash-up of random stuff...

Of Bioshock
Sure it's a year late, but this game was great!

I want to say right now that had I made it to Andrew Ryan the first two times I had started this game in the past, I know I wouldn't have quit playing (something I really struggle with when it comes to games). Perhaps that was the problem; it just took a bit too long to get to that point. Once I met Ryan, the game got seriously good and I was hooked. Amazing!

For those that haven't played the game yet because you don't have a 360 (or didn't play it on the PC), you have got to get this game when it hits the PS3. It's not everyday that I tell people a game is a must play, but this is one of them.

The combat was fun with a good mix of shooting and special plasmid attacks and the exploration (while dragging a bit in the beginning maybe) was very cool too. I thought that the story in the game was great (esp. once you meet Ryan) and it is probably the best I've ever seen in a shooter.

Conclusion... I think this game is fantastic!

Of Eternal Sonata
I am now five hours into the game and just reached Chapter 2. So far I am enjoying the game pretty well with no real complaints, but along with several things that I like a lot, there are a couple of things that have sort of gotten under my skin...

- The game is very pretty. I love the art style.
- Combat is fun and I find myself seeking out fights even if I don't have to.
- I enjoy the various skills the game gives you to use and I've been trying to make the most of them.
- The soundtrack is excellent.
- I like the story bits mixing with information about Chopin's life, very nice.

- The character conversations (story parts) can drag on quite a while, to the point where your controller will shut off due to not pressing any buttons. This has happened a couple times so far and it is lame each time.
- Beat is annoying. I know he's supposed to be 8 yrs. old, but come on... Ugh.

- The inventory system took me a bit too long to figure out. Probably my fault though.
- The hit points are a bit high aren't they? I'm not used to RPGs where your characters start off with 1000+ HP. It works in the context of the game, but I wish all of the regular battles were as hard as the boss fights. I love a challenge.

All in all, it's good stuff though. I hope to blaze through this game in about a week.

Other Stuff
I am going to see the Smashing Pumpkins in Charlottesville this weekend. They have been one of my favorite bands since I was just a kid and this is the first chance I've ever had to see them live, so I'm pretty excited.

Well! That's all I got to say about stuff for now, have a good weekend.   read

3:30 AM on 08.06.2008

Prettiest Girl in a Video Game Ever (IMO)

Not to live up to my reputation (in various forums online), but this has got to be the prettiest girl I have ever seen in a video game. I know, I know! She's not real, so there's no need to say it. Seriously though, this red-haired girl has now taken the crown from Talim (from the SC series) in my opinion, but that's fine. Talim has had a good run and it had to end sometime.   read

2:39 AM on 08.04.2008

How Many Times Have You Said…?

How many times have you said to yourself, “I’d like to play that game, but I think I’ll wait until it’s cheaper”? I’d bet that many of you say that quite often (given that I see that comment on various gaming forums almost every day). Now, I can’t blame you; money is often in limited supply and there are so many cool games deserving of your time. That said, what you are really saying is that you aren’t willing to buy a game new at retail price and instead are going to wait until you can buy it used, or perhaps wait until it becomes a Greatest Hits release (maybe eBay, etc…) for less money.

The problem of course, is that every time you buy a used game at GameStop, the game makers never see a dime of your purchase. Lately, game companies have been trying to figure out a way to kill the resale business. They want to try digital distribution (which many gamers are against for various reasons, such as wanting a physical copy of a game). They want to try various DRMs to make you register a game to your PC (or console) so that it can only be played on that one machine. They want to try a bunch of things, but what they don’t want to try is lowering the price of the game.

In other words, game companies don’t want to hear that you aren’t interested in spending $60+ for their new game. Instead, they choose to pray (I suppose) that you are the minority and that there will be many others who will buy the game at full retail price, preferably sometime within a couple weeks of release. We all know this doesn’t happen though. For the few blockbuster games with enough hype to stir the masses into a buying frenzy, there are many more games not selling to their full potential.

This leads me to wonder, when people say that they’ll wait for game ‘X’ to lower to price ‘Y’, what is this mystery price they are thinking of? Is it half the cost of the game upon release? If so, then wouldn’t it be in the best interest of game companies, to lower the price in the first place? I mean; I know that games these days can cost serious money to make, but if lowering the price could eliminate people waiting to buy the used copies of those who trade in said games, thus keeping the resale cycle in business, wouldn’t it behoove the game companies to give it a try?

It could be a win/win for everyone. Gamers can buy more games and game companies could stand to make more money with increased sales of new copies (over a longer period of time I might add). Of course this would all depend on how much of an increase in sales each game would receive. So I ask you this…

If games cost $30 instead of $60, would you be more inclined to buy games new rather than used? If at the same time, a used copy of a game that sold new for $30 was on a shelf for $25 (based on the current GS way of pricing used games $5 less than a new copy), would you be more likely to spring that extra $5 under these circumstances, if it meant that you’d be giving the company who actually made the game some money too?

Does anyone else think it is worth a try?   read

1:39 AM on 07.29.2008

Operation Darkness: Initial Thoughts

So I quit playing ToS, because I found it to be boring as all heck, and instead I've picked up my Xbox controller to give Operation Darkness a try. To give my initial thoughts on the game, I think it would be easier to create a list of pros and cons with short explanations. I know a bunch of you have probably tried the demo on XBL, but hopefully, I can share some more information on this game.

I think I'll start with the bad...


1. Graphics: Like all SRPGs for the newer consoles, the look of this game begs the question of why it is on the 360 instead of the PS2. Just like Disgaea 3 and most every other SRPG we've seen screens from so far, I can't see anything in this game that the PS2 couldn't handle. Maybe the FMVs wouldn't look as crisp, or maybe they couldn't have added all the dust or snow effects on the maps, who knows. All I can say is that I've seen better shaped human character models in Dreamcast games. It's not bad, if you don't really care about graphics, but it is something that is worth mentioning for the majority who do.

2. Camera: Of all the things I read in various opinions of the demo, the camera was the #1 complaint. I'll be first to admit that this game has a wonky camera, but it all seems to stem from what I'd think is one small piece of bad script. Every time your character takes a turn the camera shows their face, the problem is that the camera the doesn't spin around to show what they are looking at, instead leaving the camera looking at the front of your character. If the game had just spun the camera around after showing your character a whole lot of camera moving could have been avoided. To compound the issue, the stick that controls camera movement is way too loose, so the camera will move very quickly on screen. This is something I am starting to get used to, but it will take some more time.

3. Range: After six battles, I still have no idea how to tell my characters hit range in squares on the screen (beyond the movement range). This is a pain in the butt, since I basically have to guess how far I can throw a grenade or shoot a gun (etc...). The biggest part of this problem is that a bit of strategy in SRPGs involves moving your characters just inside the hit range of the enemy you want to attack, trying to stay as far away as you can. So far, that just isn't possible in this game. It can also be a bit frustrating to move your character, thinking you're in range for an attack, only to come up a bit shy and have to leave your character a sitting duck on the battlefield. If it weren't for the fact that healing items are easy enough to obtain (at least so far), this would be an even more serious problem.

4. Map Design: When you enter a battle, your characters are at a serious disadvantage every time. Often there is no cover for your party when attacking an enemy position. I suppose this is realistic of war (I mean why would the enemy design their bases with bunkers for the enemy?), but it is different than almost every other game in the genre I've played. Once again, the lack of cover leads to a sitting duck syndrome, especially when there are tanks on the map and you have to wait for your party members with bazookas to get their turns before the rest of your party can advance.

5. Cover System: This game has a cover system thing going on in battle, but I still haven't really figured it out yet. Truth be told, it seems like more trouble than it's worth, but I am sure I'll have to figure it out before too much longer. As it is right now, I don't understand it and I don't like it, but this could change. Until then, I'll just stick to straight up fighting.


1. Characters: The characters in this game are nicely done, not in terms of their 3d representations really, but their character portraits and voices are top notch. I love that none of your characters have an American accent, at least not yet. As all of the party members are from Britain or Ireland (etc...) and they all have the appropriate accents and slang, which while sometimes it gets a bit carried away, does sound kind of nice. In other words, be prepared to hear a lot of "mate", "jollies" and such.

2. Camera: Camera was a bad thing wasn't it, so what's it doing in the good list? Well, it turns out that many of the camera problems are also the result of a nice touch if I do say so myself. When attacking an enemy, the camera does these neat little tricks to show enemies being taken down. Most of the time, the camera will sort of, like, follow the bullet, and it is a pretty cool effect to what could have otherwise been shown in a very boring way. Over time, these animations start to repeat themselves, but it hasn't gotten old yet, so no complaints there.

3. Rob the Dead: Want to find a new weapon, or stock up on healing items without having to spend KP on the over world map? Rob the dead bodies of fallen enemies and you can find all types of nifty stuff. I don't know how many other people playing this game will do what I've been doing, but in every battle, I've been leaving one enemy alive until I've searched all of the dead soldiers for loot. It is kind of cheap, but then again, maybe the people making the game expected a bit of this type of play? Who knows...? The only bad thing is that it isn't worth picking up stuff you don't need, since you can't sell it at shops later and also because each character can only carry five weapons and five items each. This point leads in to...

4. Equipping Characters: From the over world menu, you can save your game, buy some supplies with KP (kill points) and also customize your party members. Customizing your characters is a breeze, in my opinion. Each character can carry five weapons and five items. While you'd think it is best to load them all up with as much as possible, if you did, you'd slow them down with the extra weight of the items and be limiting their ability to raid the fallen on the field. Instead, it is best to give your troops the weapons they are best with, maybe a couple of healing items and some more ammo and that's it. It's a very easy setup and I like it.

5. Story: Some parts of the story so far have been hokey as it gets, but that's to be expected. A game involving WWII, Nazis, Zombies, and the cult, all set to the background of WWII information is killer though. It's a very nice, if way far out there, set up. I dig it so far.

So that's about it. There are other things I could talk about, like the flow of battle, etc.., but I think I'll hold off on giving my opinion of such things until I've played more of the game. The reason for this is that some of these things might change later in the game, so it'd be unfair to comment on them, not to say that my above opinions aren't subject to change too though.

Overall, I'd say this game isn't as bad as I'd read. I doubt many of you will buy this game, but I figured I'd give an initial opinion anyways. I'll be sure to update as I keep playing with more information.   read

2:41 AM on 07.12.2008

Mega Man Marathon

Hey Dtoiders! This is just a reminder that the Mega Man Marathon is going on right now. Check it out and show your support for these guys and for Child's Play (which is a great charity I am sure many of you are familiar with already).   read

3:42 AM on 07.09.2008

SMT: Nocturne for only $30! 1 day deal!!!

Right now, you can get SMT: Nocturne for only $30 at Click the link below.

As this was once the hardest and most expensive PS2 RPG to obtain, this is one heck of a deal. I don't think it comes with the soundtrack disk like the original printing did, but trust me when I say that is hardly a reason not to buy this game.

For those who don't know, I will issue a warning though... This game is full of religious figures and symbolism that many people (of all faiths) might have a problem with. If you are in that group of people, this game is not for you. I say this as a Christian myself, and even though I like this game a lot, I just wanted to make sure anyone considering a purchase knows about this.

For more information on this game, I suggest reading the story at the link below.   read

2:02 AM on 06.21.2008

Call of Duty 5: World at War Trailer

Here it is, a teaser trailer for Call of Duty 5: World At War. Enjoy.


I think it's looking pretty good so far. What do you guys think?   read

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